Languages alive at Clayesmore

Mr Howard Smith, Head of German, describes the recent Languages Live Lounge get-together:

If you had walked into to the Sixth Form common room last Friday night you would have been forgiven for thinking you were in a Spanish tapas bar or a rehearsal for Eurovision. Languages Live Lounge is in its fifth year. In a nation where we often describe ourselves as being ‘bad at languages’ and where decline in entries for Modern Language GCSEs and A-Levels hits the headlines every August, it is refreshing to find such a cosmopolitan atmosphere in the midst of rural Dorset.

From the fifty or so linguists (plus a few friends) who packed the place out, about eight pupils stepped up to perform. Listening to Harry, who played an acoustic number on his guitar, singing in Spanish, it was hard to believe he had never performed publicly in English. Arthur had the room waving their mobile phone lights with his performance of ‘Keine ist wie du’ on the piano and later he took us all back to the 80s and led a karaoke style session of ’99 Luftballons’.

It would seem Clayesmorians are at ease with their second and third languages and there is no doubt that this starts in the classroom. If you open any door in the languages department you will hear a buzz of pupils practising their languages in an atmosphere of trust. It is no wonder languages are thriving at Clayesmore, with over 20 students in the Lower Sixth taking an A-Level language.

French, German and Spanish were not the only languages represented and perhaps most indicative of the culture of the department, however, was Luke, who was sporting a blue and yellow horned helmet-style hat, singing rapid-fire Swedish, backed up by two German A-Level students. Whilst for the backing singers it was a short foray into Scandinavian languages, Luke has been learning Swedish in his own time and plans to visit a language school in Sweden in the summer. It is no wonder the room was packed with confident world citizens. ‘Can we do this again soon?’ they asked.